Paediatric Cardiology is an exclusive specialization of the Cardiology department at Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital. The division takes care of congenital heart diseases or birth defects in heart among children. A child may suffer from structural heart diseases due to genetic disorder or unhealthy lifestyle (smoking or alcohol consumption) by the mother while being pregnant (or even before that). Down syndrome is also a possible reason for congenital heart disease in children.
Birth defects related to heart usually affects the heart wall, heart valves or blood vessels. Generally, doctors are successful in discovering any heart anomaly in a child before their birth (or antenatal level) and may treat them while they are in the womb. But, sometimes diagnosing a heart problem before birth is not possible and can only be diagnosed after visible symptoms.
Symptoms of congenital heart disease:
While some heart defects are detected straight after the birth, some do not show until sometime after the birth. Newborns with congenital heart issues may show following symptoms:
- Low birth weight
- Chest Pain
- Feeding difficulties or child refusing to take mother feed
- Bluish lips, skin, finger and toes
- Fast breathing
- Heart murmurs
- Swelling in legs, abdomens, veins or necks
- Formation of fluid or blood in lungs
How will a doctor diagnose a heart defect in a child?
Generally, heart defects can be detected at antenatal stage if not then they may be diagnosed during physical examination after the birth. However, sometimes it may take a while to figure out heart related birth defect. After studying the possible symptoms of heart defects, a doctor may suggest some tests to ascertain the issue. The tests may include:
Ecocardiography or Echo
An echo creates the picture of the heartbeat on a paper and helps a doctor in learning more about the heart rate and rhythm. An echo can be done during pregnancy as well.
The Pulse Oximetry is an electronic device which tells the level of oxygen in the blood. The instrument is attached on the toe or finger of a child.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure to detect the abnormal blood flow through the chambers and arteries of a child’s heart. The procedure helps doctors in ascertaining if the pure and impure blood is getting mixed between the two chambers of the heart. The test helps in treating a child effectively without any delay. The process involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel after making a tiny incision in arm, groin or neck of the child. A special dye (which is 100% safe) is injected through the catheter illuminating the areas doctors want to examine.
Chest X-ray is purely harmless and painless procedure. It creates a picture of the inside of the chest. It helps doctors in learning about the positioning and condition of heart.
One cannot live a normal life with a heart defect and it needs to be treated as soon as it gets diagnosed. After the diagnosis, doctors may monitor a child until he recovers from his/her condition. In case of simple structural heart diseases catheter treatment has shown commendable results.
Is it necessary for my child to undergo surgery for the treatment of congenital heart disease?
A child may need to undergo surgery for correcting/repairing the heart defects. It may be possible that a child may not be fit for a surgery at a certain age; in that case, the doctors may wait for a child to reach an age where they can conduct a surgery without any possible risk. Till then, doctors prescribe drug therapy and care to be taken by the parents. In case of heart transplant a child may have to wait until he/she finds a donor.
Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital Hospital gives the right counselling
Nobody wants to see a child suffering. At Aakash Super Speciality Hospital, we understand the plight of a parent who has a child with an ailing heart. At the paediatric orthopaedic, we have highly-experienced doctors who not only believe in curing an ailment but also ensuring that a child leaves our premises with a big smile and contented heart. We offer proper counselling and no-waiting in the OPD of our Paediatric Cardiology department.